Technology and sales cooperation for autonomous mobility

Ibeo Automotive Systems cooperates with Australian vehicle manufacturer Applied EV to develop autonomous vehicles for logistics purposes

Hamburg, 7th October 2021 – The Germany-based specialist in LiDAR sensors and related software and systems, Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH, will present a Blanc Robot platform for the first time together with Australian partner Applied Electric Vehicles (Applied EV) at the ITS World Congress in October 2021 in Hamburg. The Blanc Robot platform can be configured for a range of autonomous applications, such as freight and parcel delivery or heavy equipment transport. All these potential use cases are based on the fact that the Blanc Robot platform is able to drive autonomously in on- or off-road environments. For this purpose, Ibeo is contributing the necessary sensor components and software modules for the automation of the AEV vehicle platform, which has already been developed as "autonomous-ready". The aim of the collaboration with AEV is the further development of the respective technology as well as the joint industrialization and sale of a driverless transport solution - initially for logistics applications, with the clear prospect of also using the vehicle in public transport.

Ibeo AEV BlancRobot

With Ibeo as a partner and the ibeoNEXT on board, the Blanc Robot platform is already well equipped for Level 4 autonomous driving and thus for future requirements from an approval perspective. The possibilities here are almost unlimited. The vehicle platforms will be equipped with ten ibeoNEXT sensors and the so-called Ibeo Driver in addition to an all-wheel steering and drive unit, battery and charge management, and Applied EV’s Digital Backbone "drive-by-wire" system. The platform thus provides all the functions for fully bi-directional operation. Blanc Robot is a modular platform that uses variable superstructures known as "pods“ to allow for a wide range of applications - for example, as a mobile shopping store or, more generally, as a safe and automated goods transporter in parcel delivery.

"As part of our cooperation with Applied EV, we will be able to demonstrate the universal suitability of our completely new solid state LiDAR sensor ibeoNEXT and the autonomous driving system based on it outside the passenger car sector," says Dr. Ulrich Lages, CEO of Ibeo. "We are excited about the multimodal "Blanc Robot" platform and strive together with Applied EV to provide the right solution for each customer and their individual use case. There is huge potential here in the market for on-demand, door-to-door and last-mile transportation solutions, which are an equally important part of the new mobility alongside passenger transportation. So we are tapping into a new market for us through this collaboration. The joint development process will also provide both partners with important insights and possible solutions for the mobility of the future," Lages adds.

“We have the necessary resources to quickly begin series production.”

The agreed development cooperation initially focuses on the deep integration of Ibeo's autonomous driving system with the Applied EV "Blanc Robot" platform. "In order to create added value for joint customers at an early stage, we have been working closely together for around a year to further develop our technologies. To this end, we developed well-founded safety concepts right from the start, had them evaluated by TÜV SÜD during the development phase, and implemented them at vehicle and system level together with AEV," explains Lages.

The primary goal is to prepare products for the market that can be operated without monitoring for applications in intralogistics that can be implemented comparatively quickly. After that, the technology is to be further developed for other, more complex applications such as individual mobility in smart cities. "We want to approach our vision of safe, driverless mobility for all in small but realistic steps - and there are many customers and markets here that can benefit from our technology and products economically and in terms of safety and comfort in just a few years. For Ibeo, this cooperation is a further step into the New Mobility market. We have the necessary resources and certifications to quickly begin series production," reveals Lages.

The first tests with selected industry partners will commence in early 2022

Within the scope of the cooperation, Ibeo supplies the complete technology based on the ibeoNEXT LiDAR sensors, including perception system and driving system. The sensors used are based on new photon laser measurement technology. As so-called real solid-state sensors, they manage completely without moving parts. The ibeoNEXT LiDAR sensors are suitable for automotive series production of driver assistance systems, active safety systems and also for automated driving functions.

Although the platform is initially to be used in a controlled environment - for example, in industrial logistics - a later use in road traffic is also planned. The first practical tests with selected application partners will commence in early 2022.

“From the outset, AppliedEV has been focused on the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and technology. Our partnership with Ibeo is a collaboration between two global leaders, which will result in application partners being able to deploy their first, fully automated vehicle capabilities. We’re excited to be working with Ibeo to bring the significant economic and safety advantages of these vehicles to a variety of real world applications” says Julian Broadbent, CEO of Applied EV.

About Ibeo

Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH has established itself as a global technology leader for LiDAR sensors (English acronym for Light Detection And Ranging) and the associated products and software tools. This technology is used as an assistance system in cars and in the field of autonomous driving. It is Ibeo’s goal to reinvent mobility by enabling cars to become cooperative partners in the driving process, thus making transportation safer. In total, Ibeo employs more than 400 people at its sites in Hamburg (Germany), Eindhoven (Netherlands) and Detroit (USA). Since 2016, the automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG has been a shareholder of Ibeo: initially via Zukunft Ventures GmbH, and since 2019 via ZF Automotive Germany GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of ZF. Ibeo celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. In 2021, AAC Technologies became a shareholder of Ibeo.

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About Applied EV

Applied EV was founded in 2015 by Julian Broadbent and Shane Ambry, former executives from General Motors and Telstra respectively.

From their first on-road deployments in 2016, Applied EV has been focused on delivering a programmable and configurable EV platform for the specific purpose of being autonomous.

Applied EV’s core technology is a centralized control system, known as the “Digital Back Bone”, that provides safety rated drive-by-wire capability. Applied EV’s Blanc Robot is a modular and fully flexible vehicle platform, built around the Digital Backbone.

Blanc Robot’s modular design enables vehicles to be customized in a multitude of ways, allowing deployment across a broad variety of industries and use cases.


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